About Ali

Ali Herbert photo copyright Jack OrtonI studied Ceramics at Loughborough College of Art, followed by a year in London, at Goldsmiths on the Postgraduate Ceramics course. In 1992 I worked in Nigeria as a VSO potter. I enjoyed the vastness of African plains and the strong, simple shapes dotted in the landscape. I loved the calm and cool of a village house and the assortment of pots old and new that had place in their homes.

My work really began when I started work as apprentice Potter at Muchelney Pottery with John Leach, Nick Rees and Lizzie Leach where I spent 3 years contributing to the production collection.

Only by immersing myself in the techniques and style of British studio pottery’s founding father Bernard Leach, was I able to find my true voice as a potter.

It’s the voice I have now as I make my reduction glazed stoneware and porcelain ceramics.

What interests me is the use of real pots in our homes that create calmness and finds ‘still centres’ in our day to day world.

Stoneware Yunomis

I like to sense the peacefulness in a group of empty bowls after the enjoyment of a meal. I think this is my perfect kind of quiet moment.

I like the exactness of making in repetition and the satisfaction of a thoughtfully produced board of forms – all with a shared memory of each other.

I delight in the spots of iron that appear during firing and freckle bowls like birds eggs.

Making

I enjoy the clay process that concentrates my awareness at every stage and the small details of each and every pot that contain slight nuances in character every time.

Maker’s mark

Now and then it benefits a shape to leave a trace of my touch with pattern from fingers running through slip, or maybe a swift brush mark, perhaps a gentle indentation left by a wooden tool which then becomes marked by the pooling of glaze.